NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 2 – American Delta Air Lines has announced cancellation of its maiden direct flight to Nairobi on advice from the US Department of Homeland Security.
Delta’s inaugural flight from Atlanta to Nairobi was due to arrive on Wednesday, and was to be received by Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Tourism Minister Najib Balala and US Ambassador Michael Rannenberger among others.
“Delta Air Lines direct flights from Nairobi to Atlanta have been postponed indefinitely due to lack of Transport Security Administration (TSA) and US Government approval. The safety of Delta\’s passengers and crew is Delta\’s number one priority,” a statement from the airline said on Tuesday.
The American carrier was expected to carry 800 travellers per week between Nairobi and Atlanta, in an eagerly anticipated venture that would have reduced flight times to around 12 hours.
Currently, passengers to America are forced to connect through European capitals, making such flights over 30 hours.
Delta sincerely regrets the inconvenience caused to our customers and we will re-accommodate passengers on alternative routes or provide a refund,” read the carrier’s statement.
Government Spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua said reasons for the postponement are still not very clear, noting that Kenya had complied with all the additional security measures requested by American authorites.
“Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, is a host of many international airlines that include; British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Qatar, Turkish, KLM, SN Brussels, Swissair, Air India, Lufthansa, Air France, South Africa Air, Egypt Air, Air Arabia etc.,” said Dr Mutua in a statement.